Most parking lots form puddles. As those puddles grow, gas, oil, trash, and other pollutants accumulate until the storm water flows into a storm drain and into a creek. But this does not happen at the new Casey and Casey Law Office parking lot in downtown Boone. In fact, when rainwater lands on this parking lot, it infiltrates and disappears from the surface! Pretty amazing! This is beneficial to the nearby creek because it cleans, cools, and slows the water down.
Under this permeable parking lot, there are layers of gravel and aggregates allowing the water to infiltrate before flowing into the creek. The parking lot is divided into three cells with varying depths of gravel and aggregates and data loggers embedded within. These loggers are collecting data every 10 minutes to determine how long the water is stored and temperatures, which is important information for trout streams. In the spring, water quality sampling will begin and continue for two years. With all this data, researchers from North Carolina State University will be able to determine which depth of aggregates and gravel are most efficient for purifying and cooling the rainwater. This information can be used by permeable parking lot engineers nationwide!
This research project was funded through the NC Clean Water Management Trust Fund and made possible with the following partners; Casey and Casey Law Offices, National Committee for the New River, North Carolina State University, Brushy Fork Environmental Consulting, Watauga County Cooperative Extension, Town of Boone, and Belgard Hardscapes. For more information on permeable pavers or stormwater, contact Wendy Patoprsty at the Watauga County Cooperative Extension.